5 October 2023
PACFA CEO Johanna de Wever recently met with Psychology for a Safe Climate to discuss Climate-Aware Professional Development opportunities for PACFA members.
Psychology for a Safe Climate (PSC) is a not-for-profit registered health promotion charity whose work is largely done by volunteers.
During this discussion, PSC highlighted the important role of counselling and psychotherapy professionals in offering psychological support to individuals and communities by helping them to contain and make sense of often intense feelings, including fear, grief, anger and feelings of being overwhelmed, that arise in response to worsening climate-driven catastrophes and ecological losses.
With the bushfire season already here and the declaration of El Nino this year from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, many people all over Australia dread the arrival of Summer. In fact, according to the Climate Council, 80 per cent of Australians reported experiencing some disaster at least once since 2019. People are experiencing increasing levels of climate distress from the growing impacts of climate change on our environment, communities and physical and mental health.
PACFA members, as mental health professionals, are well suited to show up for our communities as climate impacts worsen. The first step for counsellors and therapists to engage in therapeutic climate-aware clinical practice is to go on their own journey of climate awareness. PACFA and PSC are excited about how we could collaborate to support PACFA members in this journey in 2024.
PSC’s Climate Aware Professional Development meets the need to rework mental health practice in this era of mounting existential threats due to climate and ecological losses. PSC's monthly 'Climate Cafe' is also an excellent entry point for any climate journey; PACFA members, as mental health professionals, are well suited to train as Climate Cafe Facilitators.